MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 14, 2014) - Humane Society International representatives will be available for comment at the upcoming World Trade Organization hearing in Geneva (March 17-19) on the Canadian/Norwegian appeal against the WTO ruling with regard to the European Union's ban on commercial trade in seal products. Our representatives will be in Geneva to monitor the process and document any misinformation provided by the Canadian and Norwegian governments.

WHO: Joanna Swabe, Ph.D. HSI European Union director and Andrew Lurie, HSI senior attorney, International Law & Trade, Animal Protection Litigation
WHAT: WTO hearing in Geneva, Switzerland on the Canadian/Norwegian appeal of the WTO ruling in support of the EU seal product trade ban
WHEN: March 17-19, 2014
WHERE: Dr. Joanna Swabe and Andrew Lurie are in Geneva and available for comment
WHY: HSI has worked closely with the European Union in establishing its defense of the EU ban and will observe the hearing.


  • Humane Society International has campaigned to end Canada's commercial seal hunt for many years, documenting the commercial seal slaughter and working to remove the economic incentives for fishermen to slaughter seals.
  • In 2009, the European Union prohibited trade in the products of commercial seal slaughters, a move supported by 86 percent of Canadians (Environics Research, 2008).
  • In 2010, Canada and Norway challenged the EU ban at the WTO. HSI played a central role in helping the EU to defend its ban: extensive HSI video evidence of commercial sealing was shown to the WTO panel, HSI coauthored an Amicus Brief that was considered in the case and HSI representatives attended the panel hearings.
  • In 2013, the WTO ruled that the ban on commercial trade in seal products is justifiable on public morality grounds.
  • In January 2014, Canada and Norway appealed the WTO decision. The EU subsequently also appealed. The WTO Appellate Body will rule on the appeal in April 2014. HSI has coauthored another Amicus Brief that has been submitted to the Appellate Body.
  • With more than two million seals killed since 2002 alone, Canada's commercial seal slaughter is among the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth. The seals are killed primarily for their fur and, because most Canadians oppose commercial sealing, the sealing industry relies almost exclusively on export markets to sell its products.
  • Global markets for seal products are closing fast. In 2009, the European Union joined the United States, Mexico and Croatia in prohibiting trade in products of commercial seal hunts. In 2011, the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus prohibited trade in harp seal fur, and in 2013, Taiwan ended its trade in all marine mammal products (including seal products).

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at

Contact Information:

Humane Society International/Canada
Christopher Pare